The gap between my thighs.
I can’t look at it. I cringe when I see it in the mirror: empty space framed by twig legs. The gap that makes girls envy me, the gap that they starve and hurt and die for is the gap that I dream of being rid of.
Sometimes I like to imagine what it would feel like for my thighs to brush against each other as I walk. I imagine that I would feel powerful, and that I would own the space I am in. I would be more than a branch sticking into the air. I would be a full person, with fat and muscle and bones and skin and intelligence and I would feel human.
I hold this image in my head as I scoop another serving on my plate even though I am full. Family or friends that sit with me say, “Have some more!” They look me up and down. “You could use it.” They are right. I want to fill the space between my legs, so I force my stomach to take more, praying that it will all stay down.
The gap between who I am and who I want to be.
I want to be strong.
I want to strike fear in the hearts of the men who made me afraid. I want to be strong enough to protect the ones suffering at their hands. I cannot.
I want to be respected.
I want people to see that my youth, my gender, and my frail appearance have nothing to do with how worthy I am of being heard. It seems, though, that I have been deemed unworthy. My effort, my reputation, they have done little. It is out of my control.
I spend all my efforts trying to close the gap: make other people a little more comfortable with who I am, make me a little more comfortable with who I am?
I think I will be happy when the gap between my thighs closes, but the gap between me and my ideal never will. My ideal will always be higher than who I am.
Things to be okay with:
- The Gap